Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have received new images from the Perseverance rover as well as health reports from both the rover and the Ingenuity helicopter.
This is the first high-resolution, color image to be sent back by the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) on the underside of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover after its landing on February 18, 2021. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.
Perseverance’s cameras are intended to capture video of its touchdown and the new still image was taken from that footage, which is still being relayed to Earth and processed.
Unlike with past rovers, the majority of Perseverance’s cameras capture images in color.
After landing, two of the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) captured views from the front and rear of the rover, showing one of its wheels in the Martian dirt.
This high-resolution image shows one of the six wheels of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.
Perseverance also got a close-up from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which used a special high-resolution camera to capture the rover sailing into Jezero Crater, with its parachute trailing behind.
In the days to come, NASA engineers will pore over the rover’s system data, updating its software and beginning to test its various instruments.
In the following weeks, Perseverance will test its robotic arm and take its first, short drive.
It will be 30 to 60 days until Perseverance will find a flat location to drop off Ingenuity, the mini-helicopter attached to the rover’s belly.
This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.
The mission team recently received status reports that both the helicopter and its base station (an electrical box on the rover that stores and routes communications between the rotorcraft and Earth) are operating as expected.
“There are two big-ticket items we are looking for in the data: the state of charge of Ingenuity’s batteries as well as confirmation the base station is operating as designed, commanding heaters to turn off and on to keep the helicopter’s electronics within an expected range,” said Ingenuity operations lead Tim Canham, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Both appear to be working great. With this positive report, we will move forward with tomorrow’s charge of the helicopter’s batteries.”
The descent stage holding NASA’s Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere, its parachute trailing behind, in this image taken on February 18, 2021, by the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The ancient river delta, which is the target of the Perseverance mission, can be seen entering Jezero Crater from the left. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was approximately 700 km (435 miles) from Perseverance and traveling at about 3 km per second (6,750 mph) at the time the image was taken. The extreme distance and high speeds of the two spacecraft were challenging conditions that required precise timing and for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to both pitch upward and roll hard to the left so that Perseverance was viewable by HiRISE at just the right moment. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona.
“We are in uncharted territory, but this team is used to that,” said Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung, also from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Just about every milestone from here through the end of our flight demonstration program will be a first, and each has to succeed for us to go on to the next.”
“We’ll enjoy this good news for the moment, but then we have to get back to work.”
This article is based on text provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.